Situation in the country
This mountainous state in the Caucasus has approx. 3 m. inhabitants, half of them living in the capital Yerevan. Armenians have been living in this region since the 7th. century BC, and in 301 AD "for the first time ever in history" Christianity became the state religion.
The enclave Nagorno-Karabakh in Azerbaijan, the neighbour to the east, is still a cause of dispute with its Armenian population. The relations with the western neighbour Turkey are also tense, not least because of the non-recognition of the Armenian genocide at the beginning of the 20th century.
This situation between two potentially hostile neighbours has resulted in Armenia's traditionally close diplomatic relations with Russia.
Minorities in the country are Azerbaijanis, Kurds, Russians and Ukrainians (in total approx. 2.2 %). The collapse of communism was followed by religious freedom, however, there is a close connection between the government and the dominant Armenian Apostolic Church (appprox. 85 %).
What we do in Armenia
"Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might." (Ecclesiastes 9:10)
We abide by this principle at LICHT IM OSTEN (LIGHT IN THE EAST) Armenia by trying to spread the word of God with all our energy. As the state forbids us to preach in public or to minister in areas of education, we endeavour to evangelise mainly by printing and distributing Christian literature. In many places this is the only option.
Although Armenia is a Christian country, a people is living amongst us that worships the statue of their idol "Melek Taus", a fallen angel. It is very difficult to preach a different teaching to the Yezidis and to tell them of the living true God.
We have two missionaries ministering within this ethnic minority. While visiting them regularly they establish relations with Yezidis and in doing so pass on the word of God. Thanks be to God: There is already a small Christian Yezidi church.
For the children in Armenia and in the diaspora, the Armenian version of TROPINKA - ARACHET - has become a real blessing. It is to date the only Christian children's magazine in the Armenian language. Since its first issue at the beginning of 2018, it has had a continually growing readership (5,000 copies per issue), not only in Armenia but also amongst Armenians living in America, Europe and Russia. We regularly visit children suffering from leukaemia together with a fellow believer who herself used to suffer from this disease. It is not permitted to preach in hospital, but the magazine ARACHET speaks for us when we pass it on to the patients. For two years we have also been giving the children Christmas parcels.
These Christmas parcels, which we pass on at various evangelistic meetings, e.g. in hospitals and some sports clubs, open the door to the hearts of the children and their parents - including Yezidis - so that we can reach them with the Christmas message.
As our rooms for the mission work are still being built and we therefore only work in private homes, we have at the moment no possibility for further children's projects. We have, however, alwas endeavoured to enable our children to attend the holiday clubs of other churches and organisations. In the summer camps there are always children from families who are believers as well as non-believers. Many churches and organisations invite us to present ARACHET at their meetings and to pass it on to the children.
Some months ago a teacher rang us whose family also subscribes to our magazine. Although she is not yet a believer, she reads together with her class the Bible passages printed in the magazine and talks with them about this. She has told us that to begin with the head teacher was against spiritual literature being used in class. Nevertheless, she continued to give the children ARACHET, to read it and discuss the instructive articles and the Bible passages together with them.
Further feedback has come from another teacher, also a non-believer, who is the head of the town's Cultural Centre. She asked us to send her the magazine regularly. She wanted to pass the magazines on to the children who visit the Cultural Centre.
We translate and print Christian books for adults, children and young people in the Armenian language. We target three groups: believers who want to extend their spiritual knowledge, non-believers (not yet), who want to understand the word of God, and people who have just become believers. With the help of our books they can understand the word of God better. In the two years of our existence we have been able to translate10 books into Armenian, print them and pass them on to churches and organisations.
Our team is not yet large, there are ten of us: the two Yezidi missionaries, a fellow believer who is a volunteer in the haematological clinic, and the ARACHET team consisting of seven people. We pray that the Heavenly Father will add further workers to our number.
The largest future project we are praying for is the translation and the issue of the magazine FAITH AND LIFE for adults in Armenian. Please pray with us for this, as this would really be a great blessing for our country and our ministry.
We have a new government and the legal framework has changed in many areas. Please pray that the new government and the new laws do not hinder us, but on the contrary open new doors for us, making our evangelistic activities possible in diverse areas, thus enabling us to pass on the word of our Lord.